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Adlai Stevenson had faith in intelligent discourse. He believed in the power of reason.

 
Stevenson never "talked down" to the voter. He disliked TV political advertising, believing it oversimplified the issues and reduced candidates to celebrities. In the 1952 campaign, Stevenson promised to "talk sense to the American people." He said that there were no quick fixes to the nation's problems, and that solutions required shared sacrifices.

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Speech of Acceptance, 1952 Democratic National Convention


Excerpt: "Let's talk sense to the American people. Let's tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that there — that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions, like resistance when you're attacked, but a long, patient, costly struggle which alone can assure triumph over the great enemies of man — war, poverty, and tyranny — and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each..."
(July 26, 1952)


Background: In this brief but eloquent acceptance speech for the 1952 presidential nomination, Stevenson pledged to "talk sense to the American people." He made no candy-coated promises of a better tomorrow all-too common in convention oratory, but rather warned of a "long, patient, costly struggle."

Near the end of his acceptance speech, Stevenson declared: "Better we [the Democratic Party] lose the election than mislead the people, and better we lose than misgovern the people."


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